Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee was pressed on the dubious use of his massive mailing list – the former Arkansas governor has routinely cashed in, peddling ridiculous goods and services by renting out his list to sketchy business partners. Huckabee tried to defend his enterprise, though it didn’t go well.
But when it comes to his “hucksterism” problem, the issue goes beyond the Republican candidate’s mailing list. On “Face the Nation” yesterday, CBS’s Bob Schieffer brought up a recent infomercial in which Huckabee hawked an “amazing” treatment that can “reverse” Type 2 diabetes.
SCHIEFFER: Well, Governor, I have diabetes, and I agree with you, and most doctors will tell you, you have to lose weight. You have to have a nutritious diet. But you were also selling pills of some sort, were you not?HUCKABEE: No. No. There was not – that’s a misnomer. One of the elements of the plan was dietary supplements but it is not the fundamental thing. The fundamental thing is always as you and I both know, it’s exercise it’s good eating habits, it’s maintaining sugar levels, it’s not eating a bunch of junk food, processed food, lots of carbs, sugar those type of things.
Note how Huckabee insisted quickly that he wasn’t selling pills of some sort, only to quickly follow that up by saying the pills he wasn’t selling were part of the dubious diabetes treatment he was pushing.
He neglected to mention, of course, that in the same infomercial, Huckabee also specifically suggested diabetes patients shouldn’t trust the advice of medical professionals: “They’re only going to keep you a loyal, pill-popping, finger-pricking, insulin-shooting customer so Big Pharma and the mainstream medical community can rake in over $100 billion a year annually.”
In yesterday’s interview, he also suggested the questions themselves aren’t fair: “You know, I don’t have to defend everything that I have ever done.”
But we’re not talking about some misstep Huckabee made in high school that he now finds embarrassing. Rather, we’re talking about Huckabee positioning himself as some kind of snake-oil salesman earlier this year.
The Arkansas Republican added yesterday, “I am not doing those infomercials, obviously, now as a candidate for president.” That’s nice, but whether Huckabee appreciates this dynamic or not, many voters may not be entirely comfortable with the idea of electing an infomercial salesman, peddling dubious miracle cures, to be the leader of the free world.
This problem isn’t going away for the GOP candidate anytime soon. Even Ron Fouriner wrote a piece for National Journal last week, characterizing Huckabee as some kind of brazen con man.